Cosplay.ph has issued an official statement on issue in registering the word Cosplay as a trademark.

Last September 13, blogger Mike Abundo on his Facebook page posted a photo of a document showing the word Cosplay has been registered as a trademark by the  Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).

On IPOPHL Trademark search, word mark Cosplay was registered to Ms. Tanya Mitzeiko Obedoza-Bairan, currently one of the directors of Cosplay.ph and spouse of renonwed cosplayer and current President of the Cosplay.ph Pablo Bairan.

Mark: COSPLAY
Registration No.: 42011990222
Filing Date: 06/27/2011
Basis of Registration: R.A. 8293 (10 years counted from Registration Date)
Status: REGISTERED – ( 12/29/2011 )
Description: WORD MARK
Registrant: OBEDOZA-BAIRAN, TANYA MITZEIKO
Country/Citizenship: PH / PHILIPPINES

Cosplay Philippines and the logo of Cosplay.ph were also registered as trademarks by the above-name.

When asked for a reason on how it was started and he made effort searching it on the IPOPHL website, Mike Abundo answered that he noticed the registration mark ® beside the word cosplay in an article on the Cosplay.ph website.

Mike Abundo, according to his profile, is also theVice-President for Online Services of the Philippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS) which promotes electronic and mobile commerce in the Philippines.

WHAT IS A TRADEMARK?

According to World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), a trademark is a distinctive sign which identifies certain goods or services as those produced or provided by a specific person or enterprise. A trademark provides protection to the owner of the mark by ensuring the exclusive right to use it to identify goods or services, or to authorize another to use it in return for payment.

The right to a trademark is granted to the one who first files a trademark application with the IP Philippines. (2) The registration for the Cosplay word mark was first applied on June 27, last year. It was then published in the IPOPHL Official Gazette last November 23, 2011 and no opposition to said application was filed. (Application was not published to major broadsheets and tabloids as it only requires the applicant to publish the registration to the Official Gazette for opposition. —IRR Rule 700)

With less than a month, the word mark was registered NICE Classification for Services #35 and #41 last December 29, 2011 with certificate of registration be given to registrant. The trademark registration shall be in force for (10) years, and may be renewed for periods of ten (10) years.

According to IPOPHL, Nice Classification (NCL) #35 are services under advertising; business management; business administration; office functions while class #41 are for education; providing of training; entertainment; sporting and cultural activities.

The WIPO explained that NCL is an international classification of goods and services applied for the registration of trademarks and service marks.

REACTIONS

Cosplayer David Angelo on his blog expressed his opposition on the registering the said term. He said that Cosplay is a common term and is owned by everyone and should continued to be owned, used and for the benefit of all.

Other Facebook fans defended Mrs. Bairan stating that she and Cosplay.ph were the right person and organization that should handle the trademark because of their contributions to Philippine Cosplay community. They opted to give the trademark right to Mrs. Bairan than to miscellaneous people. In addition, the accusation against her was due to their upcoming event Cosplay Mania ’12.

Others have opted to legally challenge the said registration to IPOPHL. They noted that the word Cosplay should be considered a generic term and it  should be eliminated from the IPO Trademark registry.

OFFICIAL STATEMENT

Here is the official statement of Cosplay.ph.

It has been brought to our attention that there are concerns regarding our I.P. wordmark of “Cosplay”. Cosplay.ph Organization Inc. would like to make an official statement regarding this issue.

The wordmark “cosplay” is indeed registered under Ms. Tanya Bairan, one of the directors of Cosplay.ph. Cosplay.ph applied for the wordmark, along with its trade name and all other names created under Cosplay.ph to establish its official status as an organization that focuses on cosplay events.

Initially, Cosplay.ph had applied for its own trademark as “Cosplay.ph” along with “Cosplay Philippines” and registering under NICE Classifications of Services number #35 and #41 which falls under the exclusive use of the wordmark for events. After considerable debate, we decided to apply for the word mark “cosplay” as well since the availability of “cosplay” itself, if taken by someone else, could invalidate our two previous trademarks.

The purpose of the wordmark was preemptive in order to keep the word “cosplay” safe so that it cannot be used to impede us from organizing cosplay events, because it is very closely associated with our branding. We believe that this measure was imperative for us to grow and flourish and so that we can continue to develop world-class events that we all know Filipino Cosplayers deserve.

Since the wordmark was approved, we have not enforced it in court nor asked for any royalties from any organization that uses “cosplay” in their event names; and, in cases where there was too much of a similarity between our branded events, we simply requested that they adjust their event title to avoid confusion. In fact, in these cases, we even ended up assisting them in their endeavors.

For the community’s peace of mind, you can use the word “cosplay” in your events and organizations as long as it does not cause any confusion between those events and the ones established by Cosplay.ph. You can make use of the terms like Cosplay Café, Cosplay Shoes, Cosplay Props or even Cosplay Candy as they are not events. This also does not inhibit you from classifying yourself as a Cosplayer, Cosplay Enthusiast or even Cosplay Photographer. The NICE Classifications of Services number #35 and #41 will assure you of that freedom to use it freely outside event names.

We understand how much the word cosplay means to you as it’s also equally important to us as Cosplay.ph is composed of Cosplayers and/or Cosplay Enthusiasts. Again, the intention of the wordmark was a preemptive measure to ensure the protection of the brand in order to allow us to continue to provide you with the best possible events without the shadow of legal entanglements.

—Cosplay.ph Organization, Inc.

Cosplay.ph is the premiere organization for the management of Cosplay events in the Philippines.

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